Durango Brew Train

Last October when we were hiking Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Canyons we met Sarah an awesome woman who helped us navigate and dog-wrangle through the slots. At some point she mentioned that she had recently rode the Brew Train from Durango up into the mountains. As in, people bring you beer to sample while you ride a train in the mountains. You better believe I filed that information away.

On Sarah’s recommendation we got tickets for the open air Rio Grande car which has outward-facing seats with views into the canyon. The Brew Train travels a little over 2 hours along the Animas River up into the San Juan National Forest and stops at Cascade Canyon, where lunch, music, and endless beer is provided. En route each of Durango’s six breweries rotates between cars letting you sample one or two of their brews, spending 20 minutes or so telling you about their brewery, answering questions, and just chatting. There was also a trivia game in which Team Abbadog did not place.
My attention was divided during the train ride between talking with some of the brewers, people handing me beer, chatting with fellow passengers in the car, and watching the beautiful scenery, but I did manage to take quite a few quick snapshots. The further we traveled up the canyon the more cloudy it became so many of my shots were dark but I really didn’t care to mess with my camera. You will just have to believe me that the entire ride was gorgeous.

I won’t bore you with reviews of every beer that we sampled but I do want to shout out to Ska Brewing for their Mole Stout, a thick, dark, but non-creamy stout that had cacao, three kinds of hot peppers, cumin, coriander, and maybe like 2 other things I forgot. The complexity and layers of flavor were amazing. Our other favorites were Animas Brewing Company’s Lederhosen Lager, and just about everything we tasted from Steamworks Brewing. However, we honestly enjoyed every sample we tried and were overall quite impressed.

Moving on, after we arrived for our few hours in Cascade Canyon we tasted a half dozen other beers (well I did, I temporarily ditched Tom while he was getting something to eat) before grabbing a traveler and heading out to walk the Animas River Footbridge Trail. The party was definitely a good time, the music fantastic, and we enjoyed talking with the brewers and other passengers but the opportunity to walk along the river and see more of the beautiful canyon was not to be passed up.

Leaving the station

Leaving the station

Animas Brewing Co. Lederhosen Lager

Animas Brewing Co. Lederhosen Lager

Views from the train

Views from the train

Trivia (Team Abbadog didn't win)

Trivia (Team Abbadog didn’t win)

Up we go

Up we go

Ponderosa pine country

Ponderosa pine country

Tom

Tom

Views from the train

Views from the train

Views from the train

Views from the train

Sampling Ska Brewing's Mole Stout (and chatting with Ska Brewing guy who was pouring me more of said stout)

Sampling Ska Brewing’s Mole Stout (and chatting with Ska Brewing guy who was pouring me more of said stout)

Arrival at Cascade Canyon

Arrival at Cascade Canyon

Beer and lunch pavilion in Cascade Canyon

Beer and lunch pavilion in Cascade Canyon

Me exploring the Animas River, beer in hand

Me exploring the Animas River, beer in hand

Animas River and Footbridge Trail

Animas River and Footbridge Trail

Animas River

Animas River

Animas River

Animas River

Animas River

Animas River

Tracks over Animas River

Tracks over Animas River

Nomad for life

Nomad for life

Because the engine had backed us into Cascade Canyon the return trip to Durango offered views to the other side which was nice. We enjoyed watching the river tumble downstream along with us and the gray clouds give way to blue skies the closer we got to town.

Views on the return

Views on the return

Views on the return

Views on the return

Views into the canyon on the return

Views into the canyon on the return

Rafters below

Rafters below

Views on the return

Views on the return

Views on the return

Views on the return

Finally, I feel as though a post without an Abby picture just won’t do so below are a couple shots from our dogwalks on the Animas River Trail, which runs through Durango. Also, the sticker we spotted on a lampost seemed very appropriate.

Abby on the Animas River Trail

Abby on the Animas River Trail

Pretty great clouds

Pretty great clouds

Spotted on the Animas River Trail

Spotted on the Animas River Trail

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